Suffolk County Approves Animal Abuse Registry

NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS/ WCBS 880) — A new measure to create the nation’s first animal abuse registry has been approved in Suffolk County.

Those convicted of animal abuse charges would be required to be on the registry for five years.

Natalie DiTommasso’s Jack Russel Terrier, named Poppie, was rescued from a Suffolk County home where he was tortured.

“It’s very sad to think what he came from. I think of it every day,” DiTommasso said. “He’s in a loving home right now, [but] he still hides his food.”

The abuse of Poppie and other pets like him prompted an historic vote for animals, just passed by Suffolk County lawmakers and now garnering national attention.

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Mike Xirinachs on the registry
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

“Just as sex offenders are on a registry, you should know who is living next door to you, if somebody is an animal abuser,” Chief Roy Gross, of the Suffolk County SPCA, said.

Chief Gross said the new Animal Protection Bill will include an instant background check. The name, address and photo of any convicted animal abuser will be made public on the registry for five years, in an attempt to stop individuals from preying on innocent animals.

So far this year in Suffolk County, 17 people have been brought up on animal abuse charges involving the mistreatment of 362 pets.

“This will absolutely save the lives of innocent pets and animals, but there is, as I said, a correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence,” Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper said.

Cooper said that studies show animal abuse is often a precursor to abuse of people.

Some have criticized the harshness of making animal abusers’ identities public, and say you can’t compare them to sex offenders.

Others, though, don’t see it as controversial.

“Somebody can come in here with their best face on, and can appear on the surface to be a great home, and we could accidentally put a dog in a bad situation,” Michelle Mulnard-Curtin, of Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, said. “It’s a milestone for animal rescue people.”

Shelters like Second Chance, along with pet stores and breeders, would be banned from allowing abusers to adopt or buy.

The Animal Protection Bill will not burden taxpayers. It will be administered without cost to Suffolk County by the SPCA. Those on the list will have to pay a $50 annual fee to help fund the registry.

More from Mona Rivera
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  • Animal Abuse Registry « My Blog
  • Elizabeth Harrington

    Abuser registry blurb

    Citizens around the country should be concerned about the threats posed by convicted abusers to the animals and the humans in their communities. That’s why the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been promoting abuser registry legislation for the past decade. To urge your own legislators to push for an abuser registry local to you, sign the petition at ALDF’s website,

  • Suffolk County NY Approves Animal Abuse Registry « Our Compass

    […] From CBS News […]

  • Eva

    If animal cruelty is wrong, then why not publicly list those who engage in it? Just think straight, then you’ll get there.


  • Animals

    You can’t be serious. Is there no privacy any more for human beings? Animal cruelty is wrong, but really? Really? I don’t care about any animal enough to go to this extent of stupidity. On one hand, it’s okay to slaughter animals that we eat, but on the other side people who abuse animals get put on a list? I never thought the animal nuts would have this much pull. I’m still trying to pick my jaw off the floor after reading this. Are you sure this isn’t an April fools?

    • Sheila

      To ” you can’t be serious” you just don’t
      get it. You don’t have a clue as to what
      goes on in the world. Even if you didn’t
      like animals it alerts the general public
      to be leery, animal abuse leads to other

  • jill

    To whom it may concern my heart broke when i watched about the abused animal’s especially my heart went out to the collie knowing that the collie is deaf & blind i have 3 adult female cats that i love & addore very much & i wish i could adopt the collie but can’t but if i find someone that’s really has a huge heart like myself i will let you know..& it’s a shame that there are people out there that adopt animals but are cruel to them it breaks my heart terribly…Please do not let any of these animal’s most of all especially the collie be adopted by people that will take advantage of he or she being deaf & blind please make sure the collie lands into warm hearted people…


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